Skin Cancer Prevention Act Coming Into Force

Ontario’s New Law to Protect Youth from Skin Cancer Effective May 1

Ontario is protecting young people from skin cancer through a new law that bans the use of tanning beds by youth under the age of 18.

Starting May 1, youth under 18 will no longer be allowed to use tanning beds in Ontario. The new legislation protects young people, who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, from skin cancer.

The act also requires tanning bed operators to post signs in their business about this restriction and that warn of the dangers associated with tanning bed use. Operators will be required to ask for proof of age identification and will not be allowed to promote tanning services to youth under 18.

Reducing cancer rates and helping youth lead healthy lives supports Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care and the Healthy Kids Strategy. It is also part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow by focusing on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.


" We know that tanning beds significantly increase the risk of skin cancer for youth. That’s why, starting May 1st, minors will no longer be allowed to access tanning beds. This new law will save lives." 

- Deb Matthews Minister of Health and Long-Term Care" The Canadian Cancer Society is elated that as of May 1st, young people under the age of 18 in Ontario will no longer be able to access indoor tanning equipment and are extremely pleased it is in place prior to the start of this year’s prom season. This legislation will save lives and is an important step forward in cancer prevention. Together, we are making a difference in preventing skin cancer and raising awareness about the dangers of indoor tanning."
- Martin Kabat Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division

" The Canadian Skin Patient Alliance and its affiliates laud the Government of Ontario for recognizing the grave risks associated with tanning by introducing, passing and implementing this Tanning Bed legislation which will surely save the lives of teens who might otherwise use indoor tanning beds. We hope that this is the first step our society takes in recognizing that a tan is in fact an ‘unhealthy' glow. "
- Christine Janus CEO and Executive Director, Canadian Skin Patient Alliance


  • These new rules are part of the Skin Cancer Protection Act passed by the legislature last October.
  • Public health units will enforce the new rules and operators that do not follow the law can be fined.
  • The incidence of melanoma in Ontario has been rising in youth and young adults.
  • In Ontario, the overall economic burden of skin cancer was more than $344 million in 2011 in direct and indirect costs.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified tanning beds in its highest risk category along with asbestos and tobacco. The WHO reports that the risk of skin cancer – particularly melanoma – increases by 75 per cent when tanning beds are used prior to the age of 35.


  • What the World Health Organization says about the risk of cancer and tanning beds.
  • Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care.
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